To make it easier for people to follow along with the progress, I'm going to initiate a new system to indicate recent updates. Going forward, I'll put a red, yellow or green dot () next to a particular topic. Red = updated within the last month; Yellow = within the last 2 weeks; and Green = this week's progress.

For the past 3 years, I've been in the process of restoring/refurbishing a Midget Mustang. As the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) says, homebuilding should be fun and educational. I've learned plenty along the way... sometimes--ok, most of the time--by screwing something up and learning from my mistakes. In any case, I'm creating this website to document my efforts and, hopefully, do my part to let others learn from my mistakes.

I welcome any constructive criticism of my methods and practices regarding my airplane work and/or my website design. I don't claim to be an expert at either pursuit!


Current Status:

July 22, 2009

I posted a bunch of pictures of my recent work on the cowling and spinner. Mustang Aeronautics is now selling a fiberglass spinner instead of the old aluminum spinners. I think I was one of the first people to buy the new spinner. It came in the mail less than a month ago, so I'm also probably one of the first people to install it. I'm very happy with the fit. To see the new pictures, go directly to the cowling section and start looking at page 25.

May 23, 2009

I've been working on the plenum for the past few weeks. I added about 30 new pictures to the engine section. If you want to go straight to the new stuff, start in the engines section at the bottom of page 6 and continue through page 10.

March 22, 2009

Progress continues to be hit and miss. The holidays were not good to me in terms of time for aircraft projects, but I did a little better during the months of January and February. I've been concentrating on getting the cowling and cowl cheeks finished so they can be at the paint shop while I finish up all the 100's of other little details--like hooking up the throttle, mixture, carb heat, battery, etc.

I have great respect for those who maintain a builder's website and don't have tons of time to kill at hotel rooms away from home. I almost never work on this website when I'm at home because I don't want to take time away from building on the airplane in favor of talking about building on the airplane. The ONLY way this all works out is that I spend at least 2-3 days a week stuck in hotel rooms with nothing better to do. In fairness to the builder's website concept, it does help me organize my thoughts and have a little better plan of action for the next weeks' building efforts. I guess I also hope that it can help somebody else out by seeing my struggles and successes.

I added about 30 pictures today under the cowling section. If you want to go straight to the new stuff, start with page 20.

December 6, 2008

I'm at work and had a little (5 hours) extra time because I'm deadheading from Cancun to Salt Lake City. I hate riding in the back, but at least I got the whole first row to myself. It allowed me to spread out and get a bunch of long-overdue updates accomplished. I hate spending time at home doing computer stuff when I could be working on the airplane.

As of right now, I've managed to add 2 pages to the Empennage section. Right now, it pretty much describes how I cleaned up the fiberglass tips using a bunch of filler and a bunch of sanding. I also added a few pictures showing how I fabricated the intersection fairings for the vertical and horizontal stabilizer. UPDATE: I also added an empennage page showing how I ran the wires for a video camera and electric trim.

Other updates:  Controls & Tubes--Showing bent control stick.  Engine--Showing battery box for Odyssey 680 battery.

Maybe more tonight depending on how bored I am sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City... On a non-aviation-related note, I'm pretty danged impressed with the battery on my new HP dv2910 laptop computer. I've had this baby running for about 2-1/2 hours and I'm still showing 35% remaining on the battery. Pretty cool. My old Gateway computer never lasted more than 2 hours even when it was brand new!

November 22, 2008

More hotel time today and more updates. Woo hoooo! Today, I started going through the 100's of pictures on my hard drive and realized that I've never really done anything on the website describing the fabrication of my wing root fairings. I spent a little bit of time putting together a bunch of new pages under the "Wing Root Fairings" section. I did the actual work years ago, of course, but I figure somebody might be interested in the process.

November 21, 2008

More updates posted today. It's amazing how being stuck in Dayton, OH at a marginal Best Western can enhance my web-building work ethic!

Specifically, I added about 2-1/2 pages to the tank section. I've been concentrating on the cowling over the last couple of weeks. My reasoning is that the cowling pretty well needs to be finished so I can fit the plenum to the cowling inlets. I'll also need to fit the fuselage cheeks to the cowling. Once all this is done, I can send all of it to the paint shop. While they're painting, I can be working on the engine connections--primer, throttle, mixture, carb heat, fuel, CHT/EGT, etc. Depending on how long the paint shop takes, I could have time for a bunch of the cleanup stuff that seems to go on forever.

I'm getting excited because I think I actually see light at the end of the tunnel. I really enjoy having a project to work on, but I also REALLY miss having a little airplane to fly. I can't wait to start building the RV-8 kit sitting in my hangar attic, but I'm also really looking forward to having a little plane to participate when my friends go flying! I think I'm getting close!
 

November 15, 2008

I had some vacation time in October so I made a bunch of progress on the project. The fuel tank is now officially finished. Unfortunately, as of this writing, I haven't posted the pictures. I'm stuck in the hotel room for another 8 hours so we'll see what I can accomplish...

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, I've uploaded all the progress on the cowling through the end of October. I've got another dozen or so pictures, but the progress is hard to discern. It's mostly been a process of sanding and filling and then sanding some more. My goal is to have the cowling NOT look like some hack from Loveland, Colorado (that'd be ME) modified the original cowling. This requires tons of sanding! I'm also doing my best to smooth the interior of the cowling so that it's as nice as the exterior. I like clean engine compartments and I want to be able to wipe the inside of the cowling down if I get and drips or oil mist or whatever.

I'm hoping to have the cowling ready for the heavy primer within the next week or so. Then it'll just be a matter of waiting for a suitable (read: warm) day to spray the primer. One of these days I'm going to have to build an indoor paint booth!

Maybe more later this afternoon. RWW

August 25, 2008

Someone on the Midget Mustang Yahoo forum asked about a tapered rod tailwheel installation so I added a page describing my installation of a Van's Aircraft tapered rod tailwheel assembly. I did this several years ago, but hadn't taken time to put it on the website. I hope it helps someone--maybe they'll just see how _not_ to do it! :-)

August 3, 2008

I've been trying to make a little progress on the baffles and plenum for my engine. I've put up a bunch of new pictures under the "Engine" section. The newest stuff starts on Page 3.

The other bit of good news is that I think my XCOM problems have been resolved. Michael Coates sent me a new radio which incorporates some new hardware as well as a software revision. The short story is that the radio still doesn't do everything it is advertised to do, but my initial bench testing indicates that it'll do enough to satisfy me and at least be functional in my airplane.
 

July 21, 2008

The most recent goal has been fuel tank construction. I've been slightly distracted by the whole "trying to earn a living" part of my life so I haven't made progress as quickly as I'd like. In the past 30 days, I've taught 2 Beech 1900 ground schools and about 8 Beech 1900 sim sessions in addition to my "regular" job.

Thanks to the prodding and generosity of a good friend, I'm happy to report some major progress on the fuel tank construction. My original plan was to repair my original, leaky aluminum fuel tank. I had a new fuel cap welded in place and stripped the original tank with hopes of fixing a few questionable seams. In my normal fashion, it didn't take me too long to decide I just wanted to start from scratch.

Plan B was to fabricate an aluminum fuel tank. I had some serious quality control problems with my aluminum welder guy so I tried for a little bit to find someone who'd commit to doing quality work. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone who was willing to commit to doing the job on any semblance of a timeline. I've been burned by the "whenever we get to it" timeline in the past and wasn't willing to chance it again.

Plan C came along when a new friend came along and said he'd help me fabricate the tank from fiberglass. You meet some of the greatest people at the airport! My [relatively] new friend is a perfectionist and very talented in the ways of composite--and many other things as I'm discovering every day I work with him.

The recent progress on the tank is documented in pages 6, 7 and 8 of the Tank section of the website.

June 12, 2008

I finally made a few updates to the website this evening. I decided to just attack one thing and bring it up to date. Hopefully I'll do a little more tomorrow afternoon. I'm away from home wasting time in hotel rooms so it's a good time get a little of this computer work done.

I've been putting a ton of hours in lately on making a plug for a fiberglass fuel tank. A friend of mine has offered to help me with a composite fuel tank for my Midget Mustang. He's built several tanks for other airplanes and I'm sure he'll do a very nice job on my tank. In the meantime, I really enjoy learning from him!

If you visit the "Tank" portion of my website, you'll notice, I now have 4 new pages and approximately 23 new photos of the fuel tank fabrication process.
 

April 18, 2008

Time flys when you don't have a little airplane to fly!

I've been spending a bunch of time on the lower cowling and the modification to the air intake scoop. All of the recent updates to the website have been in the "Cowling" section.

I've also started working on the cylinder baffles for the engine. A guy over in the Denver area is using fiberglass baffles on his O-200-powered Long-EZ. My original engine baffling was terrible so I thought I'd give the fiberglass baffles a try. I've spent a considerable bit of time creating the fiberglass baffles. I haven't uploaded any pictures because it's hard to tell that I've made any progress! Hopefully I'll have more to report soon.

Another project I've been messing with is creating a mold for a fiberglass fuselage tank. I've got a friend who has access to pre-preg carbon fiber and fiberglass along with a good-sized curing oven. Once I get the mold done, my friend will pretty much take it from there. Again, no pictures posted yet, but stay tuned.

Just so you all don't think I've been sitting around doing nothing...

I've also continued to mess around with my XCOM 760 radio. I built 2 additional wiring harnesses for testing. Additional--as in "In-Addition-To" the wiring harness already installed in the plane. The factory thought my wiring harness (harnesses) was/were the source of all the problems so they built their own wiring harness and sent it to me for testing. When that didn't work, I sent the radio back to Australia for a third time. It came back to me approximately 4 weeks later and I could duplicate the original problem with 5 minutes of opening the return package. The short story is that it appears the wiring harness didn't have anything to do with it and they're sending me an exchange radio as soon as updates are made to their radio and radio software. I spent 10's of hours working on this radio issue which distracted me from making any real progress on the actual aircraft for weeks at a time.

The other recent minor distraction is that my employer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. I'm now a little scared to spend any (otherwise) discretionary money for fear of not having a job in the near future. I keep telling myself that I really need to finish this project because it'll be worth a whole lot more as a flying airplane than it is as an airplane project! I'll be pretty bummed if I have to sell this thing right after it flys again! I guess that's what I get for spending most of my discretionary income from the last 3-1/2 years on an airplane instead of putting it into savings! Anybody need a pilot with 8000TT?

January 27, 2008

Looking back at it, I guess I've made significant progress since my last real update on December 1. Specifically, I've hung the engine, started on baffling and started fitting the cowling. I also hung the flaps and ailerons with the help of my younger brother. I still need to trim the piano hinge pin to the final length, but the hard part is finished. I also still need to hook up the flap linkage on the left side flap.

I finally got around to sending my XCOM 760 to Australia for warranty work on January 4th. I spoke to XCOM last week and my radio or a new radio should be headed back to the states by the end of the month. I'm disappointed that my XCOM didn't work out of the box, but they seem to be willing to make things right. I'm also disappointed that the promises of being able to deal with US distributors for warranty issues hasn't come to fruition. This is the second time my XCOM radio has gone back to Australia for warranty service. I'm not ready to say it's a deal-breaker for future transactions, but it'll definitely be a consideration.

During the last 6-7 weeks, I also installed the landing gear axles and brake lines. This is all new to me and it's fun to see progress and to be putting things back together rather than taking things apart!

The picture, below, shows the cowling clecoed in place. I Photo-Shopped the lower cowling to show what I'm planning to do with the air intake. I'm planning a 'smiley' intake just below the spinner. More fiberglass work... Oh what a joy!

January 23, 2008

I figured a few people would venture to my site to download the Bushby Sport Aviation Articles on "Building the Midget Mustang" originally published in 1966. These articles can be found by clicking on the "Links & Downloads" section towards the bottom in the column to the left.

I haven't made any updates to the building portion of the website in around 6 weeks. I have, however, made significant progress on the airplane itself. I'm planning to publish a few updates by this time next week. I'll probably post a quick summary note to the Yahoo forum whenever I make the updates to the website. The short story is that the landing gear are mounted, the brakes are plumbed, the wingtips are installed, the engine is hung, and I'm working on the cowling and engine baffling.

December was a busy month with family and holidays and January has been a busy month at work. February should allow me plenty of time to make progress on the airplane because I'm planning a light month of work at my day job! (Don't tell my boss!)

December 1, 2007

I spent most of the month of November working on the electrical system. Fortunately, I think I've pretty well got it wrapped up.

I'm having a little problem with my XCOM 760 radio, but Michael Coates of XCOM seems willing to work with me on it to resolve the problems. Unfortunately, the solution is that I need to send it to Australia for diagnosis and repairs. Bummer.

I didn't want to install the wings until everything that could be installed in the fuselage was installed. I figured there was no sense in having to work around the wings when it was so easy to just reach over the edge with the entire fuselage mounted on an engine stand rotisserie.

Yesterday, the time had come... It was wing installation day. My brother had a little extra time and came out to help me do the deed. We managed to install the wings without scratching any of the new paint and without inventing any new cuss-words. ...All within about a 30 minute time span. Of course we stood around and talked like a couple of church ladies for another 45 minutes!

I've decided the next logical step is to get the axles and wheels installed so that I can hang the engine. As it stands (sits) now, the fuselage is sitting on the gear legs. I'd like to be able to roll the airframe in and out of the hangar as soon as possible--installing the wheels and tires will definitely facilitate this! :-) I've started working on a rough alignment of the gear legs. As I could tell by eyeballing it, the right leg is significantly toed in. Right now, I'm showing 2-1/2" toe-in over a 48" straight-edge. I need to get out my scientific calculator to convert this to degrees, but I'm guessing it's about 3 degrees. Maybe this would explain the wild ride I always experienced on landing? :-)

The other "really fun" thing that happened today is that my Ford Ranger broke down and left me stranded. I pushed in the clutch at a stoplight and it was as if the clutch wasn't even there. I had to romp on the brakes to keep from heading to the middle of the intersection on a red light. This, of course, killed the engine. I forced the transmission back to neutral and restarted the engine, but the clutch was non-existent. Luckily, my brother was in town and came to my rescue with Dot3 fluid and a tow rope. The fluid didn't help so we ended up towing it to our local mechanic. Oh the joys of owning mechanical things...


November 6, 2007

I got a call from the new paint shop this morning. Everything is finished and I can pick up my wings, ailerons, flaps, canopy and all the little pieces whenever I want. I'm planning to head up there tomorrow with my brother's Suburban. The wings just barely fit inside, but it sure makes a nice, cushy ride for my newly-painted parts & pieces.

I was really trying hard to get all the wiring done before the paint shop finished the wings and other pieces. I don't want to install the wings until I'm pretty well finished with all the stuff that needs to be installed in the fuselage. I worked pretty long and hard today and got a bunch of the wiring connections attached to the fuseboxes and ground buss bar. I'm hoping to make some more progress tomorrow morning before I go get the wings tomorrow afternoon.

I'm pretty behind on my web updates. I'm thinking I might be able to get a few things done next weekend. My 3-day trip starts on Saturday. I've got 2:40 worth of sit time on the first day so maybe I'll get something done at that time. After that, we overnight in Atlanta with a ridiculously early show time on Sunday morning. Realistically, I'll be hitting the sack early on Saturday night. I'll probably still take my computer along just I end up with a spare moment or two.


October 2, 2007

Except for the highly-inflated final billing from the previous paint shop, the whole Paint Shop Jerry Springer episode is now behind me. I'm happy to be moving on to more productive things and a more positive environment.

I'm officially on vacation from my day job for the next 10 days so I should be able to get a few things done on the Mustang project. I'm waiting for a few packages from Steinair and Aircraft Spruce. When these arrive, I'll be able to really get busy. In the meantime, I ordered a battery box from Portable Power Systems in Denver. They shipped it within 2 hours of my order and I had it on my porch the very next day. That's service!

The battery box needed a few lightning holes to make it aircraft ready so I spent a little time today punching holes with my Greenlee 1-1/2" hole punch. I also primed and painted the piece today. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. Stay tuned for tomorrow's update.

When I get a little closer to flying my plane, I'll order the Odyssey 680 battery from Portable Power, too. They have as good a price as I've found anywhere and they're only 60 miles from my house. I'm thinking I may just pick it up when I'm over in Denver sometime to save the shipping charges. Too bad the price on these batteries seems to have jumped everywhere by about $20 in the most recent 45 days.

A friend recently modified my control stick for me. I wanted the stick shifted back into my lap a bit more. I always felt like I had to reach for the stick. No sense in this when I'm building a custom airplane! He welded a couple of 45 degree angles in the stick and shifted it about 3" aft (towards my belly). I installed it temporarily and sat all alone in my hangar making airplane noises for several minutes. In the midst of all this, I managed to find time to determine my desired placement for my Infinity Stick Grip. I was surprised that the grip actually needs to be mounted at about a 45 degree angle to the centerline of the fuselage. It looks a little goofy, but it sure is comfortable. I painted the stick today so I'm hoping it'll be dry and ready for pictures tomorrow.


September 25, 2007

The original painter and I had a little falling out last week. I'll be using a different paint shop for the remainder of the project. I spent most of last week getting started with the new paint shop and delivering the wings and remaining small parts. I created a pretty nifty photo/drawing to show the new painter what I want in terms of graphics placement and that sort of thing. There's a little more information on this in the "Paint" section.

In the last few days, I've also installed the Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevators. I forgot that it is actually a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and there's definitely a certain order that must be followed. I finally got it right after the 3rd installation and I think it's on for good!

Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to take my camera to the hangar so I don't have any pictures of my most recent progress. Realistically, it'll be this weekend before I have time to post new pictures. I've got a bunch of domestic stuff to take care of on Wednesday, and I worked a couple of overtime days this week so my only potential day for real progress will be Thursday.